Unsweetend cocoa powder is a nutritional powerhouse. The Ancient Aztecs considered cocoa to be a food of the gods. They might not have been far off! The benefits of eating cocoa are many and there’s scientific proof to support these health claims.
Health benefits of cocoa powder
Cocoa powder is high in dietary fiber. A two tablespoon serving of cocoa contains just 25 calories and 1.5 grams of fat and packs in 3.6 g of fiber, which is 14 percent of the daily value. It is recommended that the average adult consume 25 grams of fiber each day. Unfortunately, the average American only consumes about 14 grams everyday. Fiber helps our bodies digest food, absorb nutrients and expel toxins. If you have low-fiber diet, you might become constipated, develop hemorrhoids, or be prone to illnesses like diverticulosis and colon cancer.
Cocoa powder is loaded with health promoting flavonoids. Flavonoids are a plant-base compound. They function as antioxidants and can help prevent systemic inflammation. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder contains high levels of two flavonoids: epicatechin and catechin. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, epicatechin can help reduce blood pressure. Epicatechin relaxes the muscles in blood vessels, which improves blood flow.
Cocoa powder can improve your mood. Cocoa has several antidepressant compounds in it. Cocoa is a natural source of Phenethylamine, which is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that sends signals to the brain). Phenethylamine is a natural mood elevator. Cocoa has also been found to boost endorphins, your “feel good hormones,” and serotonin, another happiness increasing neurotransmitter.
Cocoa powder is rich in important minerals. It is a good source of iron, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. In fact, Cocoa has the highest amount of magnesium of any known food source!
The benefits of adding cocoa powder to you diet are enough to turn anybody into a chocoholic. However, chocolate and cocoa powder are not one in the same. Cocoa powder is just one of the many ingredients in chocolate. The average chocolate bar contains high amounts of sugar and fat.
Raw organic cocoa powder will provide you with highest quality nutrition. The less refined the cocoa is, the more nutrients will remain intact.
If you are eager to enjoy the health benefits of cocoa powder, it is best to stick with unsweetened organic cocoa powder.
Try this simple cocoa drink from metaboliceffect.com:
- 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened raw organic cocoa powder
- mix into hot-water
- Season to taste with:
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a pinch of cinnamon
- or pure xylitol/erythritol or stevia
Cocoa powder can also be used on savory foods. It is used in the spicy Mexican sauce mole, and cocoa powder can be used as part of a dry-rub on pork or beef. Be creative! Start adding cocoa powder to your diet. You’ll enjoy the added flavor and nutrition!
Photo by By Jakob Richter